SIMCOE, April 26th, 2017 – The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) helps families access free preventive, routine and emergency dental care through the Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) program. The HSO program helps cover dental costs for eligible children 17 years and younger.

Many families report cost as a barrier to accessing dental care for their children. Simcoe resident and mother of seven Susanne Zietsma finds it hard to pay for dental care but didn’t want to neglect her children’s oral health. “Our family is so thankful for the Healthy Smiles program. My husband is self-employed and we do not have benefits. We heard about Healthy Smiles from a family acquaintance and so we eagerly checked into it,” said Zietsma.

After contacting the health unit and confirming eligibility, Zietsma’s children were able to attend the dental clinics which are held at the Simcoe and Dunnville offices, and once a month in Langton. “Some of our children have received Healthy Smiles cards that we can use at our local dentist,” said Zietsma. “This is a huge blessing. Not only do our children get regular fluoride treatments and cleanings, they can also see a dentist, at no charge, if necessary.”

If cost of dental care is a problem for your family coverage may be available. “Even if you have dental insurance but are finding it hard to afford dental treatment for your children, we may be able to help,” said Preena Sandhu, a registered dental hygienist with the HNHU.

Screenings done in the 2015/2016 school year by the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit found that 46% of students have had dental decay by the time they enter junior kindergarten. Cavities and gum disease can impact a child’s ability to learn, self-esteem and speech. Early and regular dental care including dental visits and tooth brushing are important for children’s overall health.

Local residents can contact the Oral Health Team at the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit at Unit 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623 Ext. 3293 for more information oral health and the HNHU Dental clinics in Simcoe, Dunnville and Langton.

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Media contact:
Preena Sandhu
Registered Dental Hygienist, School Health Team
Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit
Preena.Sandhu@hnhu.org
519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623 Ext. 3293